The Genocide in Rwanda : An Interpretative Case Study of the UN Decision-Making Process

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för globala politiska studier (GPS)

Abstract: This thesis uses an interpretative case study of the Rwandan genocide to explore and analyze factors in the decision-making process of the United Nations. Using defensive structural realism and its concepts and theories explained by Stephen Walt, a level-by-level analyses is conducted.             Conducted from a realist point of view, the study found that there was no clear way to foresee the upcoming genocide for certain, yet the increase in violence in the near future was. Yet, the UN member states were still dealing with the aftermath of their intervention in Somalia which, besides other factors, lead to a broken will of the member states to support the UNAMIR mission when it became clear that it would not be an easy and quick peace mission. With this reluctancy the member states did indeed limit the possibilities for the UN to act but the Security Council as well as any other competent bodies of the UN could have called upon the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in order to get everyone to pull on one string.              The conclusions from the analysis suggest, that a broad spectrum of factors motivated the decision-making process at that time. It is impossible to know exactly who knew what, but in this case, it became clear that the decision-making bodies of the UN did not adequately respond to the situation at hand, genocide or not, because of factors which had nothing to do with the original conflict. Such as the repercussions from the Somalia intervention or simple miscommunication within and between departments.

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